I’ve been expecting this game for so long! I wouldn’t be lying if I said this title was one of the main reasons why I got myself a Nintendo 3DS! After all, two big names behind it previously worked on the SaGa series: The illustrator Kobayashi Tomomi and the game designer Koizumi Kiyoji. There are other great masters as well! Like the director Matsuura Masataka from Level-5, and finally, the writer Kato Masato, famous for his work on Chrono Trigger! All these big names coming together to create a true successor to the SaGa series and a tribute to RPGs from the golden age, when the genre offered unique elements in each new game and when Japanese games were known to be the best in the world! There’s nothing that could possibly make this go wrong…Oh! It’s by FuRyu…shit!
The Adventure King – the world’s greatest explorer – discovered an island and decided to name it after the legendary land of Avalon. Little is known about said isle and many believe it hides the very same magic from the tales of old, including the most famous treasure of all: The Holy Grail! Many people across the world became interested in exploring those lands. Each one with their own dreams and ambitions.
Meurs is from a clan who communicates with spirits. He felt a strong abnormality in the spirits coming from Avalon, which is why he came to the island.Liber is an energetic treasure hunter. He’s a womanizer with a strong justice sense who is interested in finding the Holy Grail.Garnet is a crusader working for the Emilia church. She came to Avalon to investigate the entity who is self-proclaiming itself as “God”.Bianca is an amnesiac girl who suddenly woke up on Avalon. She decided to join the exploration team in hopes to find something about her past.Owen is a 36 year bounty-hunter who identifies himself as an Earl. He came to Avalon because of a request to “subjugate the God in Avalon”.Eloise is a sexy alchemist searching for the secrets of immortality, which she believes mighty reside in the “Holy Grail”.Filmia is the most unique and enigmatic protagonist. He’s a natural-born prince from the Frog Kingdom which existed long ago. According to him, the secret behind the island sudden appearance is because it was submersed in the ocean. When Avalon finally rose to the surface once again, Filmia awoke only to find his Kingdom was no more. He joins the humans exploring the island in order to find any of his kin.
When this game was first shown to the public, it was presented as “a true RPG where you trace and your own path and create your own story”. They also expressed their desire to make a game where you wouldn’t follow a linear route, meaning nothing would force you to do anything and no one would tell you what to do. This doesn’t mean you would get a customizable character without a story or personality (which is the usual answer given by U.S. developers when it comes to “making your own story”). All the 7 heroes are a very interesting bunch, each with their unique designs and ambitions, but it’s you who will choose which one will be the protagonist, while the others can join your party, later. Their basic premise was partially delivered, as it’s the player who ultimately chooses who is the hero/heroine, even deciding who gets to join the party (aside from the 2 obligatory companions from the prologue, which are always the same for each protagonist).While exploring the land, the events will change depending of the character you chose as protagonist and the companions who are tagging along, and most of times, there’s more than one new place/dungeon to explore, and it’s the player who is in charge of choosing where to go next!Now, let me kindly break this illusion: The developers were not being completely honest with their public when they said you would be choosing your own story, as Legend of Legacy has not much of a story per se. The first scene ever that works as an introduction to your chosen hero/heroine is basically the most complex scene involving the main characters you will get in this game. Sadly, all the rest of the events you find in the game cannot be classified as a “story” with “dialogs”. It’s more of a “scene” where the characters make some “comments” about what’s going on. Those may sound like the same thing for some, but for a story-maniac such as myself, those are completely different!You see, when our heroes find themselves in a temple full of wonders, the leader will say something to the effect of “It’s so beautiful”, or “It’s impressive”, then, the dialog ends and you continue playing through the dungeon. There! This is the super different event you get depending on which protagonist you chose! This is what I meant by “only comments”. Rather than interacting and talking directly with each other, it feels like the characters are sending comments through a social media, like twitter (because twitter has a word limit). Every character can only say 1 phrase per event and it basically means the same thing no matter which party members you chose:A new power? “This power is cool” – The End!A new enemy? “This enemy looks strong! – The End!A new ally? “Hi! My name is ___! Let’s be friends!” “Ok!” – The End!A new area? “This place is beautiful!” – The End!Yes! I’m not exaggerating! It’s really as ridiculous as this! And what about the “making your own path without anyone telling you where to go next” thing? Well, it’s also in the game…kinda! It’s true that no one points out a path for you to take, but again, there’s not much you can do. Sometimes, beside the main dungeon, you get a optional short-dungeon that can give you some extra loots, but there’s no new story or alternative path to unveil there. In the end, you still need to go to that main dungeon to continue the game. They just don’t tell you out loud what you need to do, but you still have a predetermined path.You will also find yourself in a very bland and boring fetch quest right when you start the game. It’s not like someone will tell you: “You must collect all the elemental orbs to open your path and save the world”, but it’s exactly what you will be doing for the most part of the game, anyway! You visit a temple for each element: Water, Wind and Fire. Each one guarded by a boss at the end: A female-looking golem who uses attacks based on the element of its temple. The Golems always looks similar to a heroine from the main party, with a few colors to represent the element of the temple. After defeating it, you get an orb, place it on an altar and comeback to make a report to the Adventure King. Rinse, repeat!
Since they are still exploring the island, there’s only one city in the entire game. This much makes sense, but it’s a shame the Initium Town is a very dead place. It’s a very small city (more like a hamlet), there’s nothing interesting going on there and the NPCs don’t say much. Regardless, this will be your center of operations, as it’s here where you can hire a boat to bring supplements from the main land or you can simply buy stuff from the good and old local shop. Although the selection is limited at first, as you sell information and dungeon maps, their arsenal gets an upgrade and some adventurers start to walk around the dungeon (some even offering a few services for you). It’s also in this city where you can find and invite the remaining 4 protagonists to your party through a simple event aforementioned.This will also be your returning point, as you must make a report to the Adventure King in order to follow to the next dungeon.The battle system is one of the higher points in this title. It’s a turn-based system very akin to the one from SaGa Frontier, where all of your attributes have individual levels, and they get a level-up depending on how many times you use them.If you attack a lot with physical attack, you get a level-up in strength for that character. If a certain character gets lots of damage, it will also get a level-up in HP at the end of the battle. It’s a very rewarding system that makes you really feel like your customizations make sense, since your units are getting stronger on the stuff they do the most.Your characters are also free to use basically any weapon you want! They learn new skills the more they attack with the same type of weapon and they learn magic by continuously using skills within accessories like magic stones. I love this system and I wish to see it being used in more games!There are no random encounters and enemies do not respawn (unless you re-enter the same dungeon). Your “flee” command has 100% chance of working, but you always go back to the beginning of the dungeon by using it. Since every dungeon have enemies that are too strong for your current level, the best way to move forward is to use and abuse of the “quick save” feature, and save often during dungeon explorations and make a “soft reset” with L+R+START every time you get in a difficult/unnecessary battle.If there’s something for me to nitpick about the combat, it’s that there’re too many enemies that can stun your party while dealing massive damage + other effects. It’s too common and too annoying!
The game uses 3D models that mimic the feel of 2D sprites. Since this game tries to look like a NES/SNES title, the characters are in SD, as it was usually the case for games from that era. Every character is very expressive and has smooth animations. Enemies also have creative designs and usually look interesting and cool.The game has a unique feel in term of graphics and presentation, as the map and dungeons sprout from the ground like plants. It feels like you’re reading through a children’s book with folding illustrations. It looks great and it really feels like you’re exploring a magical place. It gets me pumped up to explore every inch of every map (which is one of the main objectives, anyway).Every new location comes with a specific introduction, telling the unique features of this new location, and each new area is huge and look quite different from one another.Kobayashi Tomomi from SaGa Frontier was pitched first as the main artist, but this isn’t actually the case. The real artist responsible for character design and in-game illustrations is Hirao Ryo, who is mostly known for his works on Pirates Liberta and the 4-koma Yojiten (4じてん。). He was the one who decided how all characters would ultimately look like, while Kobayashi Tomomi only made some guest illustrations for promotional arts based on Hirao’s designs. Although, after finishing the game once, you get the option to change the in-game illustrations to Kobayashi’s art.
There are no voices in the game (just like most game on the SNES….and most games for the 3DS as well…), except for the narration mentioned above. The voice is from Shiratori Emiko, a professional singer and song writer. I love her voice! It’s so relaxing and beautiful sounding! It really works in favor of the game’s atmosphere. It feels like the player is a child and the narrator is an adult telling a story from a book, which is the game.
The soundtrack by Hamauzu Masashi is a strong candidate to be one of the best OSTs of this year! It’s something truly amazing! I could never get tired of listening to those tracks! They are diverse, long and well-performed with an orchestra using real instruments.
Summarizing: Charming graphics, immersive and unique atmosphere, captivating soundtrack, charismatic characters with interesting back-stories. However, the game only gives the bare minimum of a story. This game is weak, and to be honest, FuRyu has nothing to do with this. They hired Cattle Call inc. to develop the game and they did a great job! It’s a real shame, since there was a huge potential in all this premise! If everything that was promised was actually in the game, this could easily become one of the best RPGs of 2015! It really pains to see how this turned out to be such a half-assed experience! In the end, maybe the only game that is able to be SaGa is SaGa! Which means there’s still hope in the official new SaGa game coming later this year!